Car Buyer Labs

Car Buying Advice, Tips and Reviews

An orange 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche is parked on a gravel parking lot with mountains in the distance.

The Best Used Chevy Trucks

There’s just something about a Chevy truck. Whether it takes you back to the glory days of your youth, cruising with the windows down and a favorite song blasting on the AM radio, or reminds you of that one heavy-duty job you thought was going to be impossible, those who have owned a Chevrolet truck look back on their favorite model with a little smile and a lot of fond memories. In fact, a lot of used Chevy trucks are still out there doing the job they were built to do. From the farm to the city; from the job site to the parking garage, Chevy has managed to produce a truly versatile truck for over 100 years. As a result, nearly everyone who at some point in their lives needed a heavy-duty vehicle has had experience with a Chevy truck. While used Chevy trucks are often passed down from generation to generation, quite a few have made it onto the best-used trucks rankings around the country, both for dependability and for holding their value. There are more than a few Chevy models that regularly make the reliability lists among used car and truck sites, and these models deserve special recognition for their service and value.

The Return of the Compact: The 2015 Chevrolet Colorado

The Chevy Colorado ceased production in 2012 but re-emerged with a brand new design in 2015. It turns out, the American public had an appetite for compact pickup trucks, but the original generation just wasn’t meeting the needs and demands for this particular segment. Chevy engineers went back to the drawing board, thus launching the newest generation of Colorado. The 2020 model promises to be both powerful and efficient, with a choice of three engines and a towing capacity of up to 7,000 pounds. Of course, this beast of a truck owes everything to its 2015 predecessor, as this was the year Chevy decided to go all-out on the options for the Colorado.

When shopping for a used Chevy Colorado, you might notice the price range is, well, expensive. A little shopping around can find used models priced from $13,000 to $32,000 and beyond. The reason for this was Chevy decided to offer truck buyers a variety of choices with the redesigned Colorado. Drivers could choose from Extended Cab or Crew Cab, rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, five-foot bed or six-foot bed, and from two engine types. On top of that, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado was offered in Base, Work Truck, LT, and Z71 trim packages.

A red 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, which is a popular option among used Chevy trucks, is driving on a tree lined road.

Both engine options were impressive, making it clear that despite being compact, the Colorado was made for moving cargo. The base engine was 2.5L inline-4, which offered 200 horsepower and 191 lb-ft of torque. When paired with a manual transmission, this engine averaged 19 mpg city and 26 mpg highway fuel economy; roughly the same as the four-wheel-drive option. The automatic transmission had a slightly better fuel economy, with 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway. For even more power, drivers could opt for the 3.6L V6 engine, which offered 305 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque.

The 2015 Chevy Colorado also offered many impressive standard features, including a rearview camera, the CornerStep rear bumper, cargo box lighting, locking tailgate, and power features. Higher trim packages included bonus features, such as cruise control, OnStar, Sirius Satellite Radio capability, overhead console, and a touch screen navigation system.

A Winning Redesign: The 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500

Every generation of Silverado has enjoyed popularity in the truck segment, but the 2014 Chevy Silverado was a total redesign that gained attention throughout the motoring world. Not only did this model earn a five-out-of-five rating from JD Power for its reliability, it was also carefully engineered to favor the comfort of the driver and crew who might spend all day in their vehicle. The cabin was designed to keep out wind and road noise, with a fine-tuned suspension that made bouncing down uneven roads less of an occupational hazard. Even the steering was refined, making it far more pleasant to guide a bulky work truck through a variety of driving conditions, from city streets to muddy potholes.

Again, Chevrolet gave truck owners an abundance of options. The 2014 Silverado was offered in standard cab, double cab, and crew cab styles. The double cab included a 6’6” bed, but standard cab drivers could choose a 6’6” bed or extra long 8’ bed. The crew cab model offered the choice of a 5’8” or 6’6” bed. Each trim package was designed to provide additional features to help meet drivers’ needs. For example, the LT trim includes the EZ-Lift tailgate, a driver information center, the second generation Chevy MyLink system, OnStar, and a six-speaker audio system that had basic voice recognition. The LTZ added heated front seats, leather throughout, and touch screen audio. The High Country edition included ventilated front seats, Bose audio, and twenty-inch chrome wheels. The Z71 trim was the off-road consideration, with all-terrain tires, and suspension designed to take on off-road conditions.

The 2014 Chevy Silverado was offered with three different engines. As with the Colorado, these options resulted in a wide difference in prices, ranging from $20-30,000. The 4.3L V6 Flex-Fuel engine was available exclusively with 2WD and offered 285 horsepower and 305 lb-ft of torque. Moving up to the 5.3L V8 Flex-Fuel engine, drivers could anticipate 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque. This engine was available on both 2WD and 4WD models. Then came the grand-daddy engine for super-heavy loads: the 6.2L V8 Flex-Fuel engine, which was available with 4WD only. This engine offered 420 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque, giving it a reputation for being reliable and powerful, which is ultimately what every truck driver wants from a truck.

A blue 2014 Chevy Silverado 1500 is parked in a grassy field at dusk.

The Family Pickup: The 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche

The Chevy Avalanche was discontinued in 2013, but the 2011 model received high accolades, including the perfect 5/5 JD Power score for reliability. The Avalanche had the ability to haul a trailer and a family with gusto, rendering it equal parts vacation vehicle, passenger mover, and well-equipped cargo hauler. The Midgate feature allowed a partition between the cargo box and the passenger cabin to be folded back for longer and larger cargo, with the rear seat folded from a 5.3-foot bed to 8.2 feet of cargo space. With the Midgate closed, there was more than enough room for up to six passengers. When properly equipped, the Avalanche could tow up to 8,100 lbs. As a result, the 2011 Chevrolet Avalanche was truly one of the most versatile cargo-capable vehicles on the market.

The 2011 Avalanche offered just two engine types, but each engine came as gas or E85-fuel capable. The 5.3L V8 Flex Fuel iron block engine was strictly offered in 2WD or E85 options, while the 5.3L V8 Flex Fuel aluminum block engine was also offered in 4WD. Each engine provided 320 horsepower and 335 lb-ft of torque, giving it sufficient power for moving the most important things in life.

The 2011 Avalanche also included an impressive suite of standard features. The base LS trim came standard with remote keyless entry, heated power mirrors, power-adjustable driver and passenger seats, side steps, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, StabiliTrak, and head curtain side-impact airbags, to name a few. The LTZ trim included GM’s Autoride suspension and 20-inch wheels, as well as remote engine start, leather upholstery, and rear object detection. The Z71 package offered off-road capability, including 18-inch wheels with locking rear differential and skid plate package. Beyond the basic offerings of each level of trim package, the 2011 Chevy Avalanche also offered options that increased driver and passenger safety, including Ultrasonic Rear Parking Assist, rearview camera, navigation system, a backseat DVD system, and XM Satellite Radio with traffic assist. Today, drivers can still find a well-equipped 2011 Chevy Avalanche priced between $15-20,000.

After 100 years of Chevy trucks, it’s hard to narrow down just a few examples from generations of quality construction and engineering. These three models remain exemplars of how Chevy’s use of innovative design created a range of trucks to provide Americans with a driving experience, rather than merely a powerful tool to haul “stuff.” Whether drivers sought a versatile vehicle great for handling everything from family outings to heavy lifting, such as the Avalanche, or a dependable day-to-day worker with an easy ride that could make driving the most pleasant part of the day, like the Silverado, Chevy embeds a new level of driver engagement and understanding into each vehicle it produces. Used compact Chevy trucks such as the Colorado remind us there’s a bed size for every situation, and that city streets don’t have to be strangers to a well-crafted truck. With their impeccable reliability scores, these are just a few of the used Chevy trucks that won’t disappear from the road any time soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *